Sgt Grit and staff want to extend our deepest gratitude to the Marines that have fought and served this great nation in the name of freedom and liberty. It is because of your selfless devotion to our great Country and to duty that we are able to celebrate our Country's Independence today.
We wish everyone and their families a happy 4th of July!
In the early fifties a few months prior to Korea, I was stationed at Camp Del Mar on Camp Pendleton. A movie company was filming some scenes for the movie "Sands of Iwo Jima" with John Wayne. I was a two stripe Corporal (E3) at that time and the 1st/Sgt sent me with six PFC's down to the beach to be a working party as needed. We were given a case of "C-Rats" for lunch. Around noon a big catering truck pulled in, and all hands except my detail went to eat. Big John saw us off to the side with our "C-Rats" and came over and told us to put down the Rats and join the catered line. We ate like kings and thanked Mr. Wayne very much.
Here is the exact words he told us. "Marines rate way above Hollywood bums!"
While a young PFC stationed at Marine Detachment Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico, in 1980, I received a letter from my younger brother who was at MCRD SD. I was shocked, and over joyed, as I did not know he was joining Our Beloved Corps. Needless to say, over the next couple of months he received many letters from me with all sorts of nasty comments on the envelopes about DI's in general. He came out of Boot Camp one stronger Marine thanks to me.
I had the honor of attending his graduation, as he did mine. Being a freelancing PFC at the time, I took the last pic of a DI doing his thing to some Recruits outside the chow hall. As you can tell by the photo, the DI was obviously wondering why a Marine in Charlies was taking this picture. Lordy, did I know how that sand tasted! Been There Done That...
GySgt of Marines
Wounded At Koto Ri
Regarding that letter from Sgt Ken Miller, about the book 'Rifle company Frozen Chosen colder than h-ll' written by Lt Joe Owen. I too read this book and was there. I could not put the book down. I am not a reader, but it took me two days to read this book. I know Joe Personally, he is from Auburn N.Y. I attended his receiving the Silver Star 60 years after he earned it. When they presented it to him, he introduced some of the men that were there when he earned it. He was wounded at Koto Ri and has lost most of the motion in his right arm and hand. I see Joe at our yearly get together for the Marine Corps Birthday Nov. 10th. He's a great guy.
Pat Campagna, Camp Pendleton '50-'54
Platoon 1066 Reunion
The Marines of 1969, MCRD San Diego, Platoon 1066 met in Branson, MO once again for our fifth annual reunion on 30 May 2013. We were joined by our two Drill Instructors, SSGT Eddie Alley and GYSGT Tony Gatling. The highlight of our four days together was the wedding of DI Gatling and his bride, Cloureen. At the wedding banquet on Saturday night all of the great items so generously donated by SGT GRIT were distributed to the attendees.
On behalf of the platoon, I would like to thank you for once again being a special part of our reunion. Everyone so looks forward to this time of the year.
Bob Deal '69-'75 MOS 1371
Proud Member of PLT 1066 - "Honor Platoon"
I Stand A Little Taller
I just wanted to express my thanks to Sgt Grit for your assistance in helping me get my Dress Blues ready for the 2012 Birthday Ball with 2/14, Kilo Company in Huntsville, AL. While I spent my active duty time attached to 3d MAW, MAG-11, VMFP-3, I am welcomed each year to celebrate the birth of the Marines.
I have since been off of active duty for 20 years, and the picture I have included is from the 2012 Marine Corps Ball. I am also proud to say, these are the same Blues I bought myself 26-27 years ago, and I could not have gotten them ready without the help of Sgt. Grit and some of the fine ladies working there which helped me tremendously. I thank you, and salute you.
If you will allow me some time, I would like to recount what happened to me on Veterans Day last year.
Proud to be a Marine!
Many times I have attended Veterans Day events just to be shoved aside after the parade, so families can get on with their picnic. Believing the true appreciation for Veterans Day is in the fact it offers a time for families to get together and have fun, instead of remembering why or how they are able to enjoy this time due to the sacrifices of others.
I attended the Veterans Day program at my son's high school last year (2012), and since I managed to have my Blues ready for the Marine Corps Ball by this time, I decided to wear them. The Army ROTC at the high school works hard to put on their Veterans Day program, and do an excellent job. I am very proud for my youngest son to be a part of it.
In all honesty, I was so nervous stepping out of my truck, I'm glad my wife was there with me for support. I will not go into detail of the program they put on, but to say they did an outstanding job. This is more to tell of my surprise and appreciation for my son's fellow classmates. I could not make it into the building to watch the program, or back out again to my truck without a student stopping me to tell me "Thank you" for my service. With some yelling it from a hundred feet away! Needless to say my pride was inflated many times over, and I could not stop to thank them due the many emotions I was feeling.
I will never again take for granted how people, especially our young people, feel and appreciate Veterans and Service Men/Women. I am sure some of them were drawn to do so by my Dress Blues, but it still blew me away to be personally thanked by so many students of their own accord. These days I stand a little taller and a lot prouder for all my time in the Marine Corps, knowing everything I did was worth the effort.
Thank you Sgt. Grit for your help in getting my Dress Blues ready. Mostly I would like to thank the students of Brewer High School for renewing my faith in people understanding why they have the freedoms they have today.
Floyd G. Shaw
I Was Arrested For Being AWOL
I was reading today's newsletter post and I recalled some of those wonders we had for dentistry, and frozen rank and pay. It was just how things were. Food was mostly very good and excellent at the Marine Barracks. We had been at sea about a year when I had a tooth problem. I checked out with SSgt Grimes the duty NCO, and went to sick bay. A young dentist was assigned to my mouth and he went to work. I got numbed and he started taking teeth out. A Navy Captain Dentist, came in and checked out what he was doing. To make a long story short, I was bleeding to death, and quickly I was getting transfusions of blood. I am A-, and needed more than what we had. So it was a closes call for me. I was in the ships hospital ward for 3 weeks. When I reported back to duty I was arrested for being AWOL at sea. Things can get screwed up even in the Marines.
Acting Sgt, then LCpl.
1649xxx, 1956 to 1963.
USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31,
Sea Going, G/2/5 1st Div FMF, and 1st Pioneers, and last Fallbrook
Semper Fi and Gung Ho
Cute As A Bug's Ear
After 1st LAAM got pulled out of Nam, I was on the guard duty at the staging docks in San Diego for 2 weeks. So when I got to 29 Palms, I was the last MOS 2841 eligible for the 11-month cut, so there was a little resentment from those who had to wait out their full 4 years. Since I was getting out, everybody said I should get my teeth examined plus the Dental Tech at the clinic was a total knock-out. When the Gunny advised me to go, I did.
I wasn't having any dental problems or toothaches, but the dentist said 3 teeth had to come out. The Dental Tech (long blonde hair, big blue eyes and cute as a bug's ear) was worth the visit, but the dentist looked about 14 years old. After nearly an hour of having my head whipped back and forth and actually being pulled out of the chair twice, the first tooth was still not out. After the third round of shots, that cute little tech came in, picked up a tool and said, "Why don't you try this??" He did and the tooth came right out. The next two went quickly.
The whole experience soured me on dental visits which probably explains why I had a full set of false chompers by the age of 60. I have a theory that the Navy has their new dentists practice on Marines until they get good enough to work on their own personnel. The Marine who had the good experience with his wisdom teeth must have gotten a dentist ready to move up to a Navy clinic.
My Brother Signed Up First
In reference to GySgt. James R. McMahon's inquiry of the six and seven digit ID numbers, my brother and I enlisted in Indianapolis, IN in 1942. At that time every other enlistee was a regular, the next was a reserve. My brother signed up first, he was a reserve, I was a regular. His ID No. was 423---, and mine was 423---. We stayed together in boot camp plus 35 months overseas beginning at New Caledonia, Guadalcanal and finally Okinawa D-day plus 20. We were placed in Service and Supply along with half our platoon. The other half went to the Carlson's Raiders. My brother was discharged about a year before my enlistment ended.
Sgt. Billy E. Fox
Dear Sgt Grit,
I sympathize with Sgt E4 Warn (Newsletter 27Jun2013) although I do have a comment or two.
1) You were not demoted to Cpl, all that changed was the rank title change. Hence you went from being a Sgt. one day and the next being an Acting Sgt or ASgt (E4).
I went the other way from Cpl (E3) to ACpl (E3), then promoted to Cpl (E-4). Interesting asking new guys, how I was a Cpl three times, yet never in trouble? I get some wary looks from Staff NCOs who were not around then.
2) Not sure about the National Defense qualifications, but you should have received a Good Conduct Medal.
3) Agree on the American Legion, but that is the pleasure of the Legion, nothing the Corps did.
4) We do have one thing the "new" Corps doesn't have: A Serial Number.
Like you, I also love the Corps, more so as we get older.
Combat Action Ribbon
It is not a story but a comment. I was there in '65 and during my time I was, according to DD214, involved in all operations that took place. Yet they say I was never in combat, but I know that my weapon was used for more than a walking stick. So, since according to them I was not given the "CAR" (combat action ribbon). I have been told that there are others that are in the same boat as I.
Is there anyone who knows how a combat "MARINE" in combat can get this straightened out? The one thing that bothers me the most is that we were not recognized for what we did. I didn't sit behind a type writer or play ball, but did my duty as required.
3/3 H&S Company
Memorial Day 2013
Thank you. Distinguished guests, the Veterans & Memorial Day Committee members, our honored Veterans, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Thank you for having me here today.
There is probably not one among you here today, who could not pinpoint with great accuracy, the month, the day and the year that you were born. With some effort, possibly even the day of the week and the hour of the day. Well, I can't do that. You see, I wasn't born on any given day, or even year. My birth dragged out for over 100 years.
But, truly, who really knows where this glorified figure of Uncle Sam, in his colorful, patriotic clothes with his finger pointed accusingly forward, urging each of us to get involved in aiding our country through difficult times, really came from? Surely, no one knows, because it is simply not known for sure (nor, it appears, barring a miracle, will it ever be known.) There are, however, some very good guesses, at least one of which is probably correct.
Perhaps the most intriguing story of Uncle Sam's origin and the faintest beginnings were during the War of 1812. This is the war that the British started, because, they wanted to gain back the American colonies they had lost in 1776. They succeeded in burning down the U.S. Capital building and the White House. Ultimately, however, they lost again. But it was during that war that a man by the name of Samuel Wilson and his brother Ebenezer were running a slaughtering and meatpacking business in Troy, New York. Sam Wilson (apparently more genial than your average butcher-slash-military contractor) was known to his neighbors as Uncle Sam. "Uncle Sam" Wilson was a man of great fairness, reliability, and honesty, who was devoted to his country - qualities now associated with "our" Uncle Sam. Fortunately for Sam and his brother, they landed a contract to provide large quantities of meat for the U.S. Army, during the War of 1812. The large barrels of meat were stamped with the initials "U.S." Supposedly, someone who saw the "U.S." stamp suggested - perhaps as a joke - that the initials stood for "Uncle Sam" Wilson rather than the United States. The suggestion that the meat shipments came from "Uncle Sam" led to the idea that the words Uncle Sam symbolized the federal government. Before long, even civilians were saying that "Uncle Sam was feeding the troops."
Ultimately, the character Uncle Sam became a representative of a united federal government and would eventually become a national icon. Other countries capitalized on this phenomenon with mascots of their own. England has its bulldog, France has a beautiful warrior woman, and America... well, America has Uncle Sam.
During the ensuing years and in the past Civil War, artists and political cartoonists portrayed the character of "Uncle Sam" in many versions. It was an invention of those artists and political cartoonists that most of the time he had a white goatee and star-spangled suit. The most famous of these political cartoonists was Thomas Nast. His versions of the Uncle Sam character, during the 1800's, became the accepted norm. He is also responsible for our jolly, fat, red-suited image of Santa Claus as well as the use of the donkey and the elephant as political party symbols. As a symbol of an ever-changing nation, Uncle Sam had gone through many incarnations.
The Civil War saw a major transition in the development of Uncle Sam, as his image was associated with that of, Abraham Lincoln. And it was during this period that Sam aged and acquired a beard.
It wasn't until 1916, over a hundred years after the War of 1812, that the single most famous portrait of Uncle Sam became, not just known locally, but around the world, as the cartoon mascot figure of the United States. James Montgomery Flagg an artist and illustrator was asked by the U.S. Army to design a recruiting poster for World War I. In order to save the hassle and expense of hiring a model, Flagg decided to paint a self-portrait to create the poster. The famous "I Want You" recruiting poster, he created, set the image of Uncle Sam firmly into American and world consciousness.
Because of the overwhelming popularity of that image, it was later adapted for use in World War II.
So, no... I really don't have a birthdate. I sort of evolved over time, at the same time the United States was ever-changing and finding its identity in the world. Interestingly, the image of Uncle Sam was born out of war. It was a series of wars that finally determined what and who Uncle Sam would be. The result was a national icon that's truly a cross-section of America - incorporating the face of an artist, the style of a president, and the name of a New York meat packer.
Here, today, all of us represent many different wars. The many Veterans' gravesites around us here at Desert Lawn represent, maybe even more wars. But, it is not the war we want to discuss here today. We are here to commemorate the warrior. That warrior is the millions of American men and women throughout the history of the United States, that signed a blank check at one time in their lives, which included up to the sacrificing of their own life, for their country. It may well be that of all the honorable Veterans buried here today, not one is a relative or friend of anyone here. And it doesn't matter that we don't know them personally. It matters that we should always continue to honor them, collectively. All across these United States today, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans, gathered as we are, honoring fallen Veterans, that they don't know. That, is as it should be. We don't want to live in the past, but we do want to remember and honor the past. For it helps to keep us humble in the face of those who have gone before us. We don't need to dwell on any single person, or deed, or war. What is important, is that we don't forget the collective effort of those who sacrificed their lives, for the cause of freedom and justice, for our sake. To neglect to continuously honor their sacrifice, would be monumentally dishonorable and ultimately disastrous, because, to not remember our history of war, is to repeat it.
To conclude, I want to say to all of my honored fellow Veterans, gathered here today. "Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for your service. Welcome home. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America."
Written and delivered by:
Kenneth L. "Rip" Stephens
Knee On My Chest
Hi Sgt. Grit,
I would like to add a few comments in support of Navy Dentists based on my experiences, regarding the previously published articles by Sgt. Grimes and Cpl. Dickerson.
When I arrived at MCRD in April of 1956 along with my new buddies from our swearing-in ceremonies at Ft. Douglas in Utah, I had a badly infected tooth which caused a great deal of swelling in the left side of my face. I could hardly see out of my left eye. This was cause for much hilarity among the receiving barracks folk and the troops we encountered on our way to and from the mess hall for our first meal at government expense, because of course the assumption was that my face had been messed up by something other than an impacted tooth, like a fist, or baseball bat or something.
Anyway, the following morning (after a lengthy run around the 'Grinder' at 0300 and another stroll through the troops in training, and a second meal at the mess hall, another recruit hanging around the receiving barracks was delegated to escort me to sick bay. By now the vision from my left eye was completely blocked by the swelling, and the Navy Docs were very enthused upon my arrival. After an injection or two of something that nearly put me to sleep, and a couple of liters (it seemed) of Novocain in my jaw, with a Corpsman holding me down on each side, and the dentist with a knee on my chest and one hand on my forehead, the offending tooth was removed amid much bellowing from all who were participating. Great job!
A drain was inserted and I was hustled off to the base hospital for two days of penicillin injections. I'm still in my civilian clothes and while grateful for the medical assistance, I'm wondering just what the h-ll I've gotten myself into. So, by the time I return to the receiving barracks alas, my buddies are gone and a new platoon is being formed, and the next part of the boot camp adventure begins. Platoon 270 (became 370), D.I.s S/Sgt House, (replaced by S/Sgt. Roberts), Sgt. Pitt, and Sgt. Dean. Don't recall any yellow footprints.
Fast forward 4 years and I'm stationed on Treasure Island and nearing my transfer to the reserves. So, like Cpl. Dickerson's experience, I asked the Navy Docs to remove my wisdom teeth, which they did with expertise.
I had nothing but good experiences with the Navy Dental/Medical folks, wherever I happened to require their assistance.
Really enjoy the newsletter.
Sgt. (E-4) '56-'62
Drumming, Praying, The Trip
I recall when I was in Basic Electronics School in 1965 at MCRD San Diego, we were called into formation behind the mess hall and an "ex-Marine" was expelled. I don't recall details except my vow that it would never be me up there. I queried several buddies from that time, and Mike wrote back: "Yup, there was one guy. He was in civilian clothes, the citation was read in front of the formation, we did an about face, and he was marched to the gate followed by a drummer. Don't remember exactly what he did, nor did anybody else know or seem to care at the time."
Praying at PI
Does anyone remember Praying to the Sun God? Our Senior DI in Plt 273 (1964) Sgt. W. H. Harris, would have us sit feet flat to our knees, then lean back until our heads touched the floor, with our M-14s across our chests. It could get quite painful, but was easier for a skinny, flexible guy like me. We were "praying" one evening on the rifle range, and the fellow next to me wasn't near as lean. He was moaning and complaining something awful, which got me to laughing. Then he was cursing me out. If Pvt. Miller's reading this, Sorry!
The trip to PI was fun
On the plane from Philadelphia to South Carolina, I sat with two women who were joining the Corps and headed to boot camp with us, on the theory that I'd have plenty of time with guys over the next few months. I got quite friendly with one of them, and was probably one of a select few Marine recruits who spent the long bus ride through the Carolina night to Parris Island making out with a fellow recruit. Good times.
Robert A. Hall
Former SSgt of Marines
MajGen. Littleton Waller Tazwell Waller
I see so many: "Good Night Chesty, Where ever you are", But this is reverence usually not from actual experience of Serving with the Man. His Exploits do warrant reading about, but he was only one of a many Marines that merit our attention as guides to the Marine Excellence and duty.
There are so many Marines that deserve recognition due to their battles, heroism and Marine philosophy. One Marine stands out in my mind that deserves recognition as he was the Marine that fought in more foreign Wars than any Marine before or since. His name was MajGen. Littleton Waller Tazwell Waller who fought in all the Wars we participated in, from 1880 to World War I. "Wait" a minute, you say! That's old hat stuff... but... Chesty knew about him and probably met him, he was the most decorated at the time when Officers couldn't be awarded the Medal of Honor, but he got something I think is much, much, more, he won the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and also another award you may not have heard of because that was when men fought for Honor and the Dignity of themselves... there weren't many medals. But, he was awarded the Special Meritorious Medal, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal (Awarded after his death for; Egypt 1882, Panama 1903, Cuba 1911 and Haiti 1916), Sampson Medal, Spanish Campaign Medal, Philippine Campaign Medal, China Relief Expedition Medal, Cuban Pacification Medal, Mexican Service Medal, Haitian Campaign Medal, and of course the WWI Victory Medal.
If you don't know about the Marine Corps Brevet Medal, you should read up about it. The ribbon is like the Medal Of Honor except it is Red. The last surviving Marine Corps Brevet Medal winner died in 1952, his name was John Twiggs Myers, a Major, who earned it at Peking, China in the Boxer Rebellion. However there were only three Marines to receive the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor... they were Smedley Butler, David D. Porter, and Wendell C. Neville. Major General Neville succeeded Maj. Gen. Lejeune when he died in Office.
What about the enlisted guys and their great duty? Look 'em up; Sergeant Major Daniel J. Daly who received two Medals of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Croix de guerre, and the Medal Militaire, Silver Star, and if you know your Marine Corps history, he was the one that said; "Come on you SOB's, do you want to live forever!" during World War I. The only other Marine to win two Medals of Honor, General Smedley Butler said he was the Fightin'-est Marine he ever saw.
But, most of you know all this!
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau
Transcends Age, Gender
When I read Doug Searcy's letter relating to the "meeting with strangers" brotherhood that exists among Marines, I was moved to share a remarkably similar experience I had a few years ago.
Like Doug and many others I know, I regularly wear USMC related hats, shirts etc. (mostly from Sgt. Grit) hoping other Marines will identify themselves, and we will at least exchange a Semper Fi. I have had the privilege of meeting Marines from all eras and outfits and wars, from WWII through Iraq and Afghanistan. However, one experience was special. I was wearing one of my Force Recon Association caps while shopping with my wife in a mall. As it sometimes happens in those circumstances, her shopping ability exceeded my standing around ability, and I went to the food court to wait. While people watching, I saw a man approaching and noticed he was studying my cover. He came over, said Semper Fi and asked if I had been in Force Recon. I said yes, how about you? He said he had been in Second Force and I said so was I. I asked when and he said 1959 to '61.
Having initially served in Second Amphib, I was a plank owner in Second Force when it succeeded Second Amphib in 1957 and remained in the Company until June 1959. We had missed each other by a couple of months, but had many mutual friends. We started talking and about an hour later, his wife came along and joined us, followed soon after by my wife. The four of us sat and talked for at least an hour, exchanged phone numbers and went our respective ways, feeling a sense of pride that I feel sure few other services feel. The feeling of brotherhood transcends age, gender, color, job description, rank or any other difference.
God bless the Marine Corps and God bless the United States of America.
P. D. Jones
Former Captain, 1956-'62
Semper Fidelis in Christ.
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I want to thank you and your newsletter for setting my mind at ease after 46 years. Back in July 1967, after being an 1811 tanker for almost 3 years, serving at Camp Pendleton, Okinawa, Chu Lai, DaNang, and Camp Lejeune, I was told one morning that I had been volunteered for Sea Duty. Every morning for about two weeks they had been asking someone to volunteer, but they got no takers, so as an E-4 Corporal I was given the honor to serve my country aboard a ship.
At the time I felt I was being betrayed by my fellow tankers, it was a sad day when I drove out of Camp Lejeune, and headed north to Norfolk Naval Station, and the Portsmouth Marine Barracks. When I got there I soon learned I was not alone. There was a whole class of about 50 Marines, all with about 1 year left on our enlistments. They were sending us through Sea School to serve our last year at sea. This was due to the manpower shortage caused by the Vietnam War.
After reading a couple of letters on your newsletter I have learned that being a Sea Going Marine is a privilege, an honor not to be taken lightly. I especially liked Howard Hada's letter and the advice he received from his Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Venizia.
I ended up serving one year aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42. Nine months of that year was a Mediterranean Cruise, where I saw things I will probably never see again. Ports we visited: Naples, Italy, Genoa, Italy, Taranto, Italy, off coast Sicily, Rota, Spain, Valencia, Spain, Barcelona, Spain, Palma, Spain, Malta, Crete, Athens, Greece, Marseilles, France. Every time we pulled into one of these ports we stood honors for the visiting dignitaries. We had to man the rail when we pulled into Marseilles in 29 degree weather. I was also stranded on Malta with another Marine due to a big storm that drove the ship out of port. That was a great week for sure!
During my time aboard ship I was a Brig Turn-key, the Starboard Section Leader, and a member of the drill team. So looking back, and considering the Sea School experience, I now do believe it was an honor to be a Sea Going Marine.
John M. Hunter
Duck Walk A Little Longer
PFC Lovett wrote about duck walking and wondered if anyone else had such fun in boot. I recall our D.I.'s allowing us to learn the fun of duck walking. After a short while of ducking walking all of the fun was gone replaced by pain. All of the comments under your breath were gone... replaced by grunts and snorts.
Being a recruit of course we had to continue this until the D.I.'s were tired of watching us and/or laughing at us. Whenever a recruit fell over or could not keep up we would duck walk a little longer. When I was in D.I. school a few years later I was thinking of allowing my recruits the fun of learning the duck walk however my joy was cut short as we were informed such actions were not in keeping with the standards of the Marine Corps in training young men to become basic trained Marines. Anyone violating the standards of training as set by the United States Marine Corps would suffer the undesired Court Martial. No career Marine ever wants to face that and lose the chance to be a lifer. So as a D.I. we had to find ways to short cut or a way around the standards of training as set forth by the Marine Corps to avoid any undesired punishment. Which everyone wearing the "hat" did and did so with great skill. Doing as we had been taught to adapt and overcome with a skill no other members of the United States Armed Forces will ever know.
Sgt. Gill wrote about "Once a Marine always a Marine" what happens when the individual is drummed out or now-a-days isdischarged with an other than an honorable discharge. In my opinion and this is just one Marine's opinion and that is they were never really Marines. They never really knew and understood the words "Honor, Commitment and Loyalty". They never knew or understood what it means to "Protect and Serve" our Country and our Corps. They never know or understood what "God, Country, Corps and Family" means to every Marine. You have to be a Marine to always be a Marine. They made it through boot camp and even made it through additional training and into the fleet, but they never learned the true meaning of what being a Marine means and what it means to be a Marine if that makes sense.
There is no excuse for those whose actions bring dishonor to the United States Marine Corps and every person who has always brought honor to the United States Marine Corps by their actions. This may seem hard and all that, but there is a deeply held feeling of brotherhood of honor of love of Country and Corps here that is being, for lack of a better way of saying it, spit upon by the actions of a few who most likely should have never been except into the Corps. I know some of us, if not a large number of us came from really tough hard lives before enlisting in the Corps. I know I did and I did a lot of things that put me on the wrong side of the law, and I spent a lot of time in juvenile detention. My last sentence before enlisting was 2 years in reform school reduced to 2 years intensive probation. A couple months later I got the court to seal my juvenile records so I could enlist. I was not perfect in the Corps, I did some things wrong and received office hours twice, once at my first duty station K-Bay, HI and second just after getting back to the world at Camp Lejeune. Just to show that many of us came from a bad home life and issues with behavior and dealing with persons of authority. However, upon enlisting in the Corps I found a new meaning in life for me and that was being a Marine.
Thanks for letting me sound off on these two issues. The latter on hits close to much of what I believe and my way of life and so I am, I guess, somewhat passionate about the Corps.
SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-70 / 12-76
I would like to comment on the 27 June 2013 newsletter post from Paul E. Gill about the drumming out of the Corps. He commented that what he witnessed was slightly different than the other postings. I too, have witnessed something more similar to the method he saw. I am not positive that it was a "drumming out", but if not, it appeared to me to be the next thing to it.
While I was stationed with the recruit training regiment at Parris Island in charge of a recruit receiving barracks team. I saw what I am sure was something that I perceived to be a drumming out. I don't remember exactly when it was, but I was on the island in 1965 and 1966 when I was walking nearby one of the headquarters buildings one day when I spotted two or three guys standing at a bus stop. I don't know if they were rejected recruits or permanent personnel. They were all dressed in bright, wild colored, flamboyant suits. They had extremely wide lapels on their jackets and looked like a group of clowns. They could not help but to draw attention to themselves wherever they went. I can just imagine being sent on a one-way trip home from the Marine Corps looking like that. Can you just imagine the questions they were asked by curious people who saw them on the streets? There is little doubt that they would have lied about why they were dressed like that. Since everything you have on the island belongs to the Corps, you would have nothing else to wear except what they give you when they give you the boot.
Like the other posts, I don't know when drumming out was discontinued or if, in fact, it has been, but I know that it would be about as shameful as I could imagine to be sent home like that. On a final comment. I don't know about the official ruling about "once a Marine, always a Marine" in that sense, but in my opinion, these guys should not qualify for that title.
Semper Fi - 'til I die!
Cpl, USMC July 1962 - Oct 1966
Imaging Being Shot
The recent stories of medical treatments reminded me of a few things about illnesses, injuries and Corpsmen.
While with (attached to) B/1/5 in Korea, there was a Corpsman who would strain "sick bay alcohol" to remove the pink coloring, then consume it through Donald Duck Orange Juice. Not bad, if that's all you had.
When I was wounded in Seoul on September 27, 1950, I was taken from downtown Seoul to Kimpo Airfield where a Field Hospital had been set up. After initially removing my boots and being administered some sort of pain killer into the soles of my feet, I was moved to one of the hangers which had been set up as sort of a transient ward. A Corpsman covered me up with a wool blanket, then gave me a lit cigarette which he placed between my lips. Then he left the area. The next thing I remember was waking up with the blanket covering me in flames. The cigarette had fallen out of my mouth and set the blanket on fire. Fortunately the fire was extinguished without bodily harm. Can you imagine being shot and survived only to be killed by a different kind of "Fire"?
Love your stuff, especially your Newsletters.
P I Platoon 106/112
In response to PFC Lovett's Duck Walking post: I remember that particular activity quite well. In my platoon, there were three of us from Oregon. All three of us got WSQ, and were the only ones in our platoon to do so. So naturally, when there was lag time in the training schedule, the Drill Instructor would call for Recruit Duck. That would be all three of us water loving Oregonians. We were Recruit Duck respectively.
After reporting as ordered, the duck walk race would begin, up and down the squad bay, complete with flapping of arms and quacking. It was hilarious for all involved. As the tallest member of Recruit Duck, I never won a single race. I just wish we could have done those races in the water. Extended duck walking is indeed painful.
Dear PFC Larry Lovett,
Duck Walking was a memory from Book Camp that I thought I had finally buried in "the pit", but now there you go and bring it up again. The memories are far more enjoyable than the actual experience ever was!
MCRD, Plt 2079, Aug-Nov '73
The Older I get the Better I was.
Larry Lovett's recent post re. duck walking, stirred memories of my days at Camp Matthews in early '54. Our DIs loved to have us duck walk with sea bags up the fire breaks in the rain because it was "duck weather". Ah, memories!
In response to Pfc. Larry Lovett's question on duck walking... Yes, we did duck walking. We were at the rifle range, which at the time was Camp Matthews, Calif. Somebody screwed up and the whole platoon paid for it as usual. We were in tents and on the way back from snapping in was this huge dip in the asphalt roadway. We were told to get down on our haunches and we duck walked down one side of the dip to the other side with our rifle draped across our neck, did an about face without getting up and duck walked back to the other side. We did this for about 30 mins. in the hot California sun on the asphalt path and thought our legs were going to fall off. Some of us thought it would be easier to just die. Try that for discipline sometime!
Needless to say we learned a lesson from the duck walking and eventually became the honor platoon.
LCpl Don Selke
Plt 265, MCRDSD
My MCRDPI plt 108 (1955) had several duck walking experiences, and as reported earlier, it was one of the most painful exercises I experienced. One duck walk was not just painful, but very damaging to our dress shoes. The DIs had us fall out wearing our highly polished dress shoes, and they started us duck walking immediately. Soon after starting you couldn't keep the toes of your shoes from dragging on the concrete!
After the duck walk, all of our efforts to polish our shoes was wiped out; needless to say we had a lot of work to get our dress shoes back in shape.
Sgt. Earnest Aikens 1955-1959
USS Leyte CVS-32 Marine Detachment
I have Platoon books that I have found and have bought. I collect them and give them back to who ever has lost theirs by flood, ex-wife, or fire. So far I have return 6 Platoon books to Marine and still have 138 Books left.
Please let tell your readers that read your Sgt.Grit newsletter online.
My email for them is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have information on our site about how to find there books. I would like to find them a home.
William E. Pilgrim Jr.
U.S.M.C. '72 TO '81
The Parris Island, S.C. Books I have on hand are:
Platoon 3004 Oct. 9, 1972 to Dec. 21, 1972.
Platoon 1017 Oct. 30, 1972 to Jan. 16, 1973.
Platoon 2031 Dec. 11, 1972 to Feb. 26, 1973.
Platoons 1A & 1B Jan. 8, 1973 to March 5, 1973 (Women Platoons).
Platoon 356 July 20, 1974 to Oct. 8, 1974.
The San Diego, C.A. books I have on hand are:
Platoon 1083 Aug. 6, 1974 to Oct. 23, 1974.
Platoon 1024 Feb. 26, 1974 to May 15, 1974.
Platoon 1028 March 7, 1975 to May 23, 1975.
Platoon 2126 Nov. 19, 1975 to Feb. 4, 1976.
Platoon 3128 Nov. 21, 1975 to Feb. 6, 1976.
Mr. Pilgrim has many more Platoon Books. We will list them in groups of (5) in each future newsletter until all have been listed.
Cold War Service Medal
As a Combat Veteran I'm not sure how you feel about us peace-time pogs and pukes. But, I'd like to ask your readers to get involved in an aggressive letter-writing campaign to address an issue that's been breached but never conquered. I'm referring to the Cold War Service Medal. I know it's been introduced in Washington on several occasions and was even approved by the White House; however DOD has failed to carry the ball into the end zone. I've written to my representatives in Washington and would ask all Veterans to do the same. Below is the text of my letter. Use it or change it however you'd like, just please contact your representatives and let them know they can't kick this can down the road any longer.
Dear Senator X, or Congressman Y, As a Veteran and a proud member or our free democratic society, I'd like to broach a subject that's been kicked down the road far too long. I'd like to draw your attention to the lack of proper respect and recognition given to all the brave men and women of our armed forces that served during the Cold War.
There are medals given for service during a time of declared national emergency (The National Defense Service Medal), and medals for service during the on-going War on Terrorism (Global War on Terrorism Service Medal), but to date, no medal has been authorized recognizing the hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who served during peacetime. There are those of us that fell between conflicts, but nonetheless served with honor and distinction. This may seem like a minor matter, but in our military culture, we wear our resumes on our uniforms. That's the way it's been done for hundreds of years and we have no intention of breaking with tradition.
You might want to remember the 241 servicemen that died in the Beirut Barracks Bombings as part of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force on October 23, 1983, and the thousands that stormed the beaches of the Island of Grenada in Operation Urgent Fury on October 25, 1983. Neither of these groups of warriors performed their courageous duties under the banner of a declared emergency. Nevertheless, they died or suffered just the same as any Combat Veteran of any foreign war. We find it discouraging that these valiant troops haven't been honored in some way. So to, our peacetime Veterans have been overlooked.
We'd like to focus your attention on a quote from Wikipedia regarding the Cold War Victory Medal.
"In accordance with section 1084 of the National Defense Authorization Act  for fiscal year 1998, Congress commended the members of the Armed Forces and civilian personnel who contributed to the historic victory in the Cold War, and authorized and instructed the then-Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, to prepare a certificate recognizing the Cold War service of qualifying members of the Armed Forces and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense and other government agencies. The certificate became known as the Cold War Recognition Certificate available by request of the individual, by all members of the armed forces, and qualified federal government civilian personnel who honorably served the United States anytime during the Cold War, which is defined as September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.
In October 2001, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act ("NDAA") for fiscal year 2002, which was signed into law on December 28, 2001 by President George W. Bush. In the NDAA approved by both houses and signed into law by the President, was a Sense of the Congress resolution that the Secretary of Defense should consider authorizing the issuance of a Campaign medal, to be known as the Cold War Service Medal, to each person who while a member of the Armed Forces, served satisfactorily on active duty during the Cold War. The then-Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, did not create such a medal.
The official US Navy web page states: "The Department of Defense will not be creating a Cold War Service medal" and that any commemorative medals made by private vendors are unauthorized on the military uniform.  At present, the Cold War Victory Medal remains strictly commemorative and is unofficial other than for members of the Louisiana National Guard.
The Cold War Victory Medal is also referred to as the Cold War Commemorative Medal, Cold War Service Medal, or simply as the Cold War Medal. There are no devices or attachments authorized for the Cold War Victory Medal.
If President Bush authorized a medal to be struck, why hasn't it happened? We can only assume partisan politics must have reared its ugly head at the expense of forgotten Veterans. Bills have been submitted as recently as the 112th Congress (2011-2012). The Senate's bill (S.402) and the House's bill (H.R.1968) attempted to address the issue, but floundered in the mire of politics. They must have, as no positive outcome was achieved.
Along with my request concerning the non-existent Cold War Victory Medal, I'd like you to reconsider the eligibility requirements for the two other medals mentioned above.
1) The National Defense Service Medal which is currently authorized for the Korean War: June 27, 1950 â€“ July 27, 1954; the Vietnam War: January 1, 1961 â€“ August 14, 1974; the Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990 â€“ November 30, 1995; and the Global War on Terrorism: September 11, 2001 â€“ present. Again, from Wikipedia: "The National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) is a military service medal of the United States Armed Forces originally commissioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Created in 1953, the National Defense Service Medal was intended to be a "blanket campaign medal" awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who served honorably during a designated time period of which a "national emergency" had been declared." We wonder if the 241 servicemen that died in the Beirut Barracks Bombings or the thousands of servicemen and women who took the Island of Grenada would consider their service to be under the conditions of a national emergency. Are the 241 any less dead because of no declared conflict? Are the warriors of Grenada suffering any less from PTSD because of no formal congressional approval?
2) The Global War on Terrorism Medal is currently authorized for September 11, 2001â€“present. Again from Wikipedia: "The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (GWOTSM) is a military award of the United States military which was created by Executive Order 13289 on March 12, 2003 by President George W. Bush. The award recognizes those military service members who have performed service in the War on Terror from September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined." As stated above, the brave Americans involved in the 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing and the Invasion of the Island of Granada are no less dead or suffer no less from PTSD than our brave servicemen and women that served during times of declared hostilities. We're caused to ask, weren't the first volleys of the Jihad not fired on October 23rd, 1983? Did the Cold War end before the War on Terrorism began?
In these recent days of cynicism and doubt in our elected officials I pause and give thought. Is it time to replace the existing congress (both the House and Senate) with new, fresh members? Or, may I suggest our current representatives quit sitting on their collective fists and leaning back on their thumbs and make these issues a no-brainer by voting thumbs up where it counts. If so, our forgotten Cold War Vets might get the over-due recognition they so richly deserve.
John H. Hardin
1978 - 1984
I Agree With Him
Re: Sgt Dennis Warn's post about Cold War Marines. I agree with him. I served from 1977-1990 and was medically boarded out due to back injuries. I also love the Corps (as anyone who knows me, or my family, who I think gets tired of hearing about it) will tell you. I also didn't qualify for a National Defense Ribbon and can't join the American Legion, VFW, or a bunch of other Veteran's organization just because I was too young for 'Nam by 3 years and missed the 1st Gulf War by months. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I get a disability check because I'm rated 100% unemployable due to my back (even though I have to waive my retired pay and can't get concurrent pay). I know a lot of guys out there are probably thinking, "Sh-t, I've had a bad back for years and this guy got retired for it?" But, I originally ruptured 3 disks in Boot during 3rd Phase and one of my D.I.s said, "If you take one day of bed rest (while the doctor ordered 5) I'll recycle your azz!" So, of course I didn't take the rest and kept P.T.ing everyday, while in agonizing pain. But, I never quit on a run and never failed a PFT. For the next 12 years I kept re-rupturing those disks and the Navy Docs kept treating me like I was faking an injury until, finally, in Nov. of '86 I couldn't urinate and they performed an emergency discectomy/laminectomy, but by that time my spine was pretty screwed up. So try as I did to fight it, they medically retired me.
I know I'm eligible to join the DAV, but I feel like an imposter compared to heroes who gave limbs, sight or are paraplegic due to their injuries, so I support them with what I can financially but I'd never join. I slipped a few years ago on the ice and ruptured 3 more disks, this time in my upper back, but as anyone who has chronic pain knows, after a while you just get used to it, and besides, I am a Marine.
Anyway, thanks for letting me blow off steam, Grit. Lemme know when your company goes public since I love your gear and have purchased whatever I could afford.
P.S. - I don't want anyone thinking I was a sh-tbird while on active duty. I always scored 1st Class on my PFTs, qual'ed Expert with both weapons and got quite a few "Walks On Water" Fitreps. Also was awarded a Navy Commendation. :>)
Once a Marine, Always a Marine.
R/S, J. A. Howerton II
SSgt USMC (Ret)
Heard The "Pop"
"DDick" and I were swapping email comments about a story of a woman who thought she had been shot in the head, and that reminded me of an incident that happened one morning during Operation Desoto, in the Duc Pho area of Vietnam in '67. I thought I'd share it with you.
Lima Company had spent the night in a ville on the east side of Nui Dang, the hill on which we had landed, as one of the two 3/7 companies (I think Kilo was the other, and they landed on a hill farther to the south) that were "first in" on the operation. The rest of the battalion came in by air the next day, and immediately found themselves in running fire fights, while we watched through heavy lenses, during the three days that we spent on top of that barren hill.
Anyway, one day sometime later, as we were getting ready to begin a sweep (again?) of the area between Nui Dang and Nui Cua, the hill that was literally on the South China Sea (waves slapped up against a portion on the east side of that hill's base), the "skipper" called a meeting of platoon commanders and platoon sergeants, along with fire support people, which included me.
"Charlie" must have seen an opportunity that he couldn't resist, because he cranked off a round that sent us all into the prone position. One of the platoon commanders (can't remember which - Bill Symolon, Chris Ryner, or John Welch) called for one of his squads to fire-and-manuever across the rice field between the ville we were in and the one to our east, from which the shot had come. (That was the only time that I saw fire team rushes used during the almost-six months that I spent as art'y FO for Lima - which had four CO's during that time: Capt. Boyd rotated home, Capt Henry was wounded by "friendly air", Capt. Celmer was KIA while crossing a stream under fire, and Joe Piatt, who now lives in Chicago and/or Reno, at my last contact with him. My usual position in the company's order of march while in the field was not far behind the "Skipper", except for Joe, who had me maintain some distance between us, to reduce the number of antennae that followed him around.)
The sniper apparently only fired that one round and then "hatted out", because we received no more fire.
As we picked ourselves up off the ground, the CO's "company tac net" radio operator, Trotter, was still lying there. He called out, "Skipper, Skipper, I'm hit, I'm hit!" which got all our attention. Gunny Mayfield checked him over and found no wound. Apparently, the round had passed through that narrow space between the back of Trotter's head and the radio strapped to his back. He heard the "pop", as it did so, causing him to think that he was a "gonner".
Once a captain, USMCR, always a Marine!
1963-76 "for pay purposes"
Act Like It
Just a quicky I can't forget: On Okinawa I was Sgt. of The Guard around the motor pool in 1959... when making my rounds I spotted a guard asleep in the front seat of a jeep with his hand resting on his M-1's muzzle. I carefully held the rifle and lifted his hand, let it hang down and removed the trigger housing group, putting it in my pocket. I returned his hand to the muzzle and woke him up saying "Put that rifle back on your shoulder and get walking!" After spouting trite excuses and denial, he slung his weapon up to his shoulder watching it fall apart and hang in two pieces. His humiliation took over, scared to death of Captain's Mast or worse. I gave the evidence back to him saying, "You're still a Marine, act like it!" He and I are both glad I didn't follow my Marine training.
Semper Fi, Sgt. Ed
Swagger Stick Lumps
I served on active duty from 1956 to 1959. Made platoon leader and was promoted to PFC on graduation from Boot Camp with orders to go to Sea School. Something I had really worked hard for and wished for. Regrettably on the night before graduation, DI SSgt Mckeon marched his recruits into ribbon creek and the rest was history. All orders were cancelled. We had to be interviewed by all manner of Senator and Congressman, and ended up walking guard duty at the rifle range for several months.
It made us sick to see the new recruits being treated like Boy Scouts. Laying around on the grass during "breaks" and eating "pogeybait". Gross! Those of us who had just gone through the h-ll of a rigorous and strict boot camp were really p-ssed. I had swagger stick lumps on my head, my knees were destroyed duck walking, and marching with my hands straight out in front of me with my rifle laying across them were painful memories, but successfully turned us into disciplined Marines. My team thought it was the end of the Corps as we knew it.
After Geiger I quickly passed the test for Cpl and 26 months after boot, I took the test and made Sgt E4. Loved the Corps and I had serious consideration about re-upping however, on Jan 1, 1959, 25 days before my release from active duty date, our lovely leaders decided to change the pay structure and add a new rank, Lance Corporal. My DD214 reads "Acting Sergeant". Needless to say, I did leave active duty regrettably returning to civilian life.
Although we were on active duty for Eisenhower's Suez Canal Blockade, and later, the landings at Beirut, Lebanon, we are still considered peace time Marines. We were there, we were trained, and we were ready.
Semper Fi to all the "peace time" Marines.
Sgt E4 (Now acting Sergeant)
Little Smoke Break
Dear Sgt Grit,
I love the newsletter and back in February I sent you the story of our 40th Reunion we held in Clearwater Beach, FL with about 20 of us from our stint at Henderson Hall, HQMC ('72-'74). I received a lot of great comments from the article and picture you published in the newsletter.
Our reunion re-kindled a lot of great friendships and we're already planning another next year in Louisiana for Mardi Gras! I went through boot camp at MCRD San Diego from Feb to May of 1972. Our reunion and your newsletter have brought back lots of great stories from my boot camp experience.
Our platoon guide was a strapping big guy and did a wonderful job - until we moved up to the rifle range. The D.I. caught this guy UA smoking in the head one night. That turned out to be bad news for him and as you might guess, even worse news for the other 75 of us. We were all allowed to go back to sleep after a little commotion that night. Most of us didn't even know what had happened.
The next day the D.I.s called us all to attention. It was nearly 100 degrees and humidity was about the same. We were ordered to stand information on a small hill at Edson Range. The "grass" on the hillside was a cross between sand and that red, chili-power looking stuff. We all lined up at attention facing down the small hill. The D.I. called our guide down "front and center". He then called down another recruit and had the guide ceremoniously hand over the guide's platoon banner to the "new" guide. Then the D.I. had the former guide stand at attention facing all of us facing down at him. The D.I. then told us what had happened. "Our recruit here chose to smoke cigarettes in the head last night. Since he likes them so much, we're going to let him smoke right now! While he's having his little smoke break, you "t-rds" are going to P.T. Squat thrusts until he finishes this full pack of camels." (Remember, we're on a hillside facing down the hill. Think about it!)
Fortunately, it only took about thirty minutes for him to finish the pack - The D.I. had him smoking the whole thing at once! As I recall, he had twelve in his mouth, two in each ear, and two in each nostril. We did Bends and Motherf-ckers until they were gone. This sight would have been hilarious had I been watching it from a distance. As it was, no one was laughing. We were drenched in sweat and filthy from the big cloud of red dust. We were wearing our long sleeve utility shirts. We had just come from class, so we had tucked our spiral notebooks full of all our notes inside our shirt fronts which is where we carried them. When we were done with this little "exercise", I pulled mine out and all the pages had sweated together and all the ink had smudged as the notebook was a muddy mess. No one got caught smoking for the rest of boot camp.
Anyway, here's the favor. After getting out of the Marine Corps in Feb '72, I came back to Minnesota and my girlfriend moved in with me. We split after a couple of years, whereupon she threw out my photo album form the Marines and my boot camp photo album. I was left with one picture. (My boot camp picture in dress blue blouse and white cover) I was fortunate to get a couple at our 40 yr. reunion last year.
However, I'd be forever grateful if anyone out there has a photo album for my platoon. I'm pretty sure it was platoon 3024. We graduated 25Feb1972 (give or take a day). I don't remember my D.I.'s names or anyone else in my boot camp platoon. I never saw any of them after boot camp. Most album sites I've found didn't start saving them until '75. I think I'm down to one of 75 other guys or their families who may have one lying around. I would be happy to buy one or even have you scan yours and I'll take a copy. It's been 38 years since I've seen one. If you accidentally come across one, you can let me know here on the newsletter or email me at prealty8381[at]gmail.com.
Thanks for listening.
Cpl Don Winblad
Reading the news today I came across the story of Arthur J. Jackson, a Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his incredible actions on Peleliu during WWII. Unfortunately, while visiting New York a couple of weeks after receiving the Medal, Mr. Jackson's MOH was stolen from his hotel room.
For nearly 70 years Mr. Jackson has tried to recover his Medal of Honor, but has been unable to locate it.
I've never met Arthur Jackson, but I would consider it a huge favor if you would post his story in your newsletter; if enough Marines read this story then perhaps somebody will be able to provide some information that will lead to the return of Mr. Jackson's Medal.
I've included a link to the story detailing Arthur Jackson's experiences.
That's right - Jody. Paid for that at PISC.
Lost Medal of Honor
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #8 (Aug, 2015)
I'm skipping forward a little here but, I wanted to let you know that a friend and former Helicopter Pilot just sent me an E-mail that contained the following info. He knew that as a former CH-53 Crew Chief that I'd be interested in what the future plan was. This info may already be old and the plan may already be in the works as the date of this info is December 9th, 2011. Today is the 27th of December, 2011 and the tentative release date for this issue is August, 2015. So you see what I'm saying. I'm not sure what the original source of this info is but, I'm just quoting it, and passing it on.
It indicates that the Corps recently admitted that the lifetime cost of operating their new V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft had increased 64 percent over the last three years (to $121.5 billion). Although the MARINES MV-22's had flown over 100,000 hours in Afghanistan and have an excellent safety and reliability record, they are still very expensive to operate. While the MV-22 is a superior helicopter transport (greater speed and range) in a combat zone, it is still very costly to operate. The coming budget cuts will probably see the MARINES cutting on MV-22 purchases and falling back on conventional helicopters like the CH-53K to maintain their battlefield mobility. It's another case of good-enough beating out better. Now, for those of you that don't know it all aircraft are graded by the number of man hours required to maintain the aircraft versus the Flight Hours. Normally all aircraft are considered serviceable (flyable) for a certain number of flight hours. That's why we keep good records on Aircraft and components.
The CH-53E remains one of the few heavy lift helicopters that can operate in the high altitudes in Afghanistan, and they have been heavily used there. The CH-53E's average age is fifteen years, and over 3000 flight hours. They require 44 man hours of maintenance for each hour in the air. As a result, it costs about 20,000 dollars for each flight hour. Now, the CH-53E is good for about 6,000 flight hours, before metal fatigue makes them more dangerous to fly. The CH-53K will get the cost per flight hour down to about 10,000 dollars. which is about 30 percent less then the MV-22.
At the present rate of use, the MARINES will begin running out of heavy-lift helicopters by 2012, thus the decision to put the CH-53 back into production as the CH-53K. The new model will be 15 percent heavier (at 38 tons) then the CH-53E and will be able to carry nearly twice as much (13.5 tons). The CH-53K will be much easier to maintain, and cost about half as much, per flight hour, to operate.
Solution To A Sanitation Problem
The burning sh-tters brought to mind a Lt-directed case of arson, although I prefer to think of it as a simple, thorough, solution to a sanitation problem. The Company Office/Maintenance Operations office was a single building in the FLSG-Bravo Compound at Quang Tri. This was a big company... over 400, commanded by a Major, and out back of the building, supposedly built for use by just the office staff, mail clerk, 1st Sgt, etc. was a one-holer... SeaBee built, nicely done, screened, comfortable, convenient. Come to think of it, don't think I ever saw another single-seater, other than temporary improvisations, during either tour. This one, however, was not secured to the ground, and when we got the edge of a typhoon, it blew over. The contents sorta spread around, and when it was set up-right a day or two later, the floor was alive with maggots... so the Admin O, a 1st Lt, directed that a couple gallons of diesel fuel be poured on the floor. Fly larvae, it seems, are accomplished swimmers... including in petroleum distillate. It didn't seem to affect the squirmy little b-stards at all. Some half-hearted attempts were made to broom the mess outside, along with more than half-hearted b-tching by the Remington Raiders and Mail Clerk assigned the task... so the Lt directed clearly and in stentorian tones... "Burn the sumb-tch... we can always walk up to Motor T's head"... since it was an in-house burning of the out-house, and the column of smoke, arising from an area that produced smoke every day, wasn't even noticed up at the wind tunnel (HQ). The 1st Sgt didn't quite approve, the CO had apparently gone (pun intended) elsewhere every day, as he didn't miss the structure... problem solved! We may have received a replacement from the 'Bees later... just don't recall all the sh-tty details 44 years later.
This Company was usually reporting on around 430 Marines every day (Motor Transport Maintenance Platoon alone had over 100 mechanics at the time), and besides the usual transfers in and out, R&R events, etc. we also had 'maintenance couriers'... these were mechanics assigned to travel with evacuated equipment and paperwork, down to higher echelon at Maintenance Battalion at Red Beach... this usually meant a trip on land over to Cua Viet, and thence down to DaNang by LCU or maybe LST. Not a bad deal for the courier... change in routine, a chance to visit the big PX at Freedom Hill, etc., and the trip might take a week or more, round trip... but it required orders... which they had to get at the Company Office. The 1st Sgt was a fatherly type, didn't really have a lot to do, but felt it was his solemn obligation to 'counsel' anyone leaving (or returning to) the bosom of his homies. These counseling sessions could run for quite a bit of time, would have been useful to anyone with insomnia, and there was little chance of escaping counseling if the 1stSgt saw you anywhere near the orders clerk's desk. I got used to being at my desk at noon chow time, having gone to early chow... and would hear some scratching on the window creen... from some trooper squatting below the window sill, and would hear "Lieutenant?... is the 1st Sgt in?"... "No... gone to chow"... " Ah... Sir? could I get my orders now?"
Also in this office was a newly-reported LCPL who we will call "Mac"... pencil mustache, hair parted in the middle, ultimately discharged for smoking non-vegetative things not usually smoked, or he was at least being accused of such. He, within a day or two of arriving, inquired if he could bring his tape player to the office. The initial response was "no... this is a place of business"... but... he was a fast typist, detail-oriented, and we had this "STAR" report that had to go to FLC in DaNang... and had been the source of a constant stream of nasty-grams from those REMFs about accuracy, so a deal was struck: "You get us an Atta-Boy on the Star report, and you can bring your tape player to the office"... now, this being at the end of the sixties, it was a given as to the type of music... and I had neglected to ask one simple, but sadly, very important question in setting up this deal, and that was "How many tapes do you have?" We soon had the Atta Boy... and a deal was a deal... and Mac had exactly one tape... Iron Butterfly... with the long (15 minutes or so) version of InDaGaddaDaVida... which we heard over, and over, and over, and... to this day, all I have to hear is about the first four beats... and I'm back in Quang Tri. (My kids some years back gave me the gold/platinum CD... with the long version (mostly drum solo... available on YouTube for you youngsters)... I may leave them out of the will...
Lost and Found
I remember doing the DUCK WALK and going quack, quack, quack. I also remember running on the parade deck with my M-1 over my head yelling I'm a sh-tbird SIR.
Would like to hear from my fellow Marines from Plt 27, 4th Bn, PISC Jan56-Apr56.
Email: duganb_p[at]comcast.net, Tel: 603/424/9517.
God Bless America
MSgt Bill Dugan USMC Retired
I just received the dates of the Yemassee Train Reunion, Oct 18-19th at Harold's Country Club in Yamassee, and then to the Beaufort Air Base, plenty of Marines and we want MORE.
Contact: Roy Hughes, Tel: 843 589 3385.
Cpl Ted Hetland, Newport R.I., Plt 23, P.I. 57.
Thank you Sgt, Grit.
Marine Corps Mustang Association, September 4 to September 7, 2013 in Branson, MO. www.reunionpro.com. For details contact Roger Speeg, Tel: 866-937-6262, email: mustangbusmgr[at]windstream.net.
3rd Battalion, 4th Marines (Vietnam) August 28 to August 31, 2013. Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel. www.reunionpro.com for details.
I do not know what happened to the phrase Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful). During World War 2, when I was in the Marine Corps "Semper Fi" (Mac) was a derogatory gesture accompanied with the middle finger. Now-a-days, I have to cringe whenever I hear or see Semper Fi. I would like to see us get back to Semper Fidelis. It must of changed in time down through the generations. I think the Commandant would agree.
Just remember this, us old Corps wore out more SEA BAGS than you boots have socks.
Good day SGT. GRIT.
Just finished reading the weekly reader and had to thank you and your staff for all you do.
32 years ago on 26 June 1981, I became a Marine at San Diego. SEMPER FIDELIS to all! I enjoy the little sendoff comments you end the letter with. Marine wit!
Green side out...
Sgt. Jeff Wolven
USMC MCRD Platoon 3027
Dennis Warn, Sgt (Buck)
If you have any dates before Jan. 31 1955, you are eligible to join the American Legion. And, if you can produce a DD214 to prove these dates, you can join.
Dennis Cosgrove, Cpl E-4 / Adjutant
Post 330, Leesburg, FL
"Courage is endurance for one moment more."
--Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam
"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs rally seek: not the chance to serve."
--H.L. Mencken, 1956
"Truth is treason in the empire of lies."
"My only answer as to why the Marines get the toughest jobs is because the average Leatherneck is a much better fighter. He has far more guts, courage, and better officers... These boys out here have a pride in the Marine Corps and will fight to the end no matter what the cost."
--2nd Lt. Richard C. Kennard, Peleliu, World War II
"Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness."
"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
"A Marine should be sworn to the patient endurance of hardships, like the ancient knights; and it is not the least of these necessary hardships to have to serve with Sailors."
--Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
This isn't the end of the newsletter... to improve delivery we've shortened the version that is sent to your inbox, so read the rest at our website! Next story: My Brother Signed Up First...
"Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind, U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air droppable, beer fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler, freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers tamed, revolutions started, bars emptied, alligators castrated. Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut down."
"I gave you azzholes at ease, not base liberty."
"Our enlistment has a start and finish date. The "Oath' does not."
Fair winds and following seas,